Man teaches karate, life skills to BR youth

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POSTED: Friday, March 2, 2012 - 11:20pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 12:33am

Mental focus and discipline, training for the body and more importantly, training a young mind to make the right choices. Every Friday and Saturday, Sensei John Daniel meets with his pupils at the YMCA in Baton Rouge. The "Y" allows them free access, since they share the same values.

"For children today, their choices can have some wonderful consequences, or some terrible consequences," said Daniel.

Daniel's mission is teaching and leading his diverse group of students in the ways of Martial Arts, and in the ways of being productive citizens outside the gym.

"Discipline is the key," Daniel said. "When you use your head, heart and good habits to solve a problem systematically, you develop a discipline."

Part of the students grading system is based on community service. A decorated Martial Artist himself, Daniel believes in a holistic approach of development and improvement, that seems to pay off for Neil Zaporteza.

"Before training, I was doing bad in school," Zaporteza said.

Zaporteza said he's now doing better with his grades.

Fifteen-year-old John Hill was a self-admitted slacker when it comes to school work. That's until he started training with Daniel. Now he's seen as a leader and sets examples for younger pupils to follow.

"I spend more time getting stuff done instead of working on things I want to do," Hill said.

John Daniel's Unity Day Youth & Family Zone plans on holding several community days throughout the year in some of the city's most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

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